The astounding life and memoirs of the black slave turned boxer, Bill Richmond has remained relatively unheard of. Until now. Luke G Williams writes for the Independent on his latest book Richmond Unchained. Richmond’s life underwent remarkable transformations since his birth in 1763, and subsequent enslavement. After travelling 3,500 miles in a search for freedom from life as a slave in a Staten Island parsonage in America, Richmond forged a life of glamour and luxury in London through the sheer force of his charming charisma and undeterred determination to succeed.
In 1821, at 57 years old, Richmond was still seen in the public eye as a ‘celebrity’ within King George IV’s court, with his stature leading him to be used as the subject for numerous artworks, an admirer stating that he had always resembled a ‘study for a sculpture’. Yet, artistic popularity and esteem aside, Luke G Williams remarks at the oddity of the boxers little known life. Williams book champions him as ‘a pioneering black boxer – the trailblazer for the likes of Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali’ and reminds our society of this mans extraordinary life, a man who should be celebrated lest be forgotten.